Quantifying the Removal and Transformation of C60 Nanomaterials During Conventional Water Treatment: Implications for Human Exposure

Huth, Emily Jane
Fullerenes, and specifically Buckminsterfullerene (C60), are among the most widely studied types of manufactured nanoparticles in the rapidly expanding field of nanotechnology. Of particular interest are the environmental implications associated with these unique materials and the ability of our water treatment systems to remove them from likely exposure routes (e.g., drinking water). The objective of this study was therefore to analyze the removal of polyhydroxylated C60 (fullerols, C60 OH18-24) by coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation processes. These processes generally make up what is referred to as conventional water treatment. Jar tests were performed using a synthetic source water whose composition was similar to that of typical surface water with regards to electrolyte composition and concentrations, as well as organic content. Fullerol removal efficiency was assessed as a function of the humic acid concentration. The highest fullerol removal efficiency measured was approximately 88%, in terms of mass concentration, during coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation processes. However, the removal efficiency decreased as the humic acid concentration in the source water increased indicating that the presence of organic material will affect the removal of fullerol by conventional treatment processes.
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